Does immunointensity account for the differences in prognostic significance of Bcl-2 expression in non-small cell lung cancer?
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Bcl-2 is an oncogenic protein that plays a central role in apoptosis. The association of Bcl-2 expression and prognosis in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is unclear, with some studies showing improved outcome whilst others show no survival advantage. We evaluated 178 surgically resected NSCLC specimens for Bcl-2 and p53 immunoexpression. Bcl-2 staining was present in 34.9% of cases (weakly staining 24.2%, strongly staining 10.7%), nuclear p53 in 43. 3% and cytoplasmic p53 in 10.7%. There was no association between p53 and survival. Bcl-2 immunoexpression correlated with improved outcome (p=0.04). A sub-group of strongly Bcl-2 staining cases had a poor survival compared to those that stained weakly (p=0.01). The strongly staining cases had a similar survival to negative cases. Immunointensity may therefore account for the disparity in results regarding the prognostic significance of Bcl-2 demonstrated in previous studies.
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